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The current retirement policies in most EU member states have a strong focus on raising retirement ages and financial incentives to extend working life. Yet so far these policies have paid little attention to social inequalities which likely benefit those most able to work longer and disadvantage those unable to work longer. The Dutch contribution to EXTEND involves the leadership of Work Packages (WPs) 4 and 5 which concern the interplay between work/retirement and health.

WP4 focuses on the effect of social inequality on disability-free life (DFLE) expectancy and employability during working life in various countries in Western and Eastern Europe. Research questions are:

How does social inequality in the health of older workers affect the chances of prolonging working life for low and high socio-economic groups?

What differences in health care cost ensue from the specific health problems in low and high socio-economic groups of older workers?

What factors explain prolonging working life despite poor health in low and high socio-economic groups?

How do SES differences in prolonging working life play out across countries, and to what meso and macro-factors can cross-country differences be attributed?

WP5 focuses on post-working life, in particular on the effect of social inequality on post-retirement health. Research questions are:

How does work history affect post-retirement health in low and high socio-economic groups?

What are the health care costs following labour market exit in low and high socio-economic groups during their remaining lifetime?

What individual factors explain the relation between work history and post-retirement health in low and high socio-economic groups?

What macro-factors affect the relations found (cross-country analysis)?

The multi-country approach allows on the one hand general conclusions and on the other hand insights in country-specific circumstances and causal relationships. Moreover, the comparative approach will give insights into viable policy solutions.

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